CHICAGO -- The Chicago City Council on Friday repealed the city's ban on doing business with firms that have ties to South Africa.

The lifting of the ban came on a 38-to-8 vote, with some black aldermen reportedly preferring to keep the prohibition in place a while longer.

The repeal affects an ordinance passed in 1990 that prohibited city business from being awarded to firms that deal with South African entities. The ordinance specifically placed bond underwriters, financial advisers, and bond counsel firms under the city's ban.

The ordinance prohibited the city from entering into any bond-related contracts with firms that, during the term of their contract with the city, provided professional services to South Africa, a South African business, or any business or corporation for the "express purpose of assisting operations in or trading with any private or public entity located in South Africa."

Under the ordinance, bond firms and other professional service contractors were required to certify through an affidavit that they met Chicago's anti-apartheid requirements.

The City Council also approved Mayor Richard Daley's plan to issue $175 million of general obligation bonds for road and other infrastructure improvements.

"We're looking to go to market next week, depending on market condition," said John Holden, a spokesman for Chicago's finance department.

The issue marks only the second in Chicago for infrastructure improvements since 1985. Last year, the city sold $150 million of GO bonds.

Senior manager for the deal is William Blair & Co. Co-managers are Clayton Brown & Associates Inc.; LaSalle National Bank; Chicago Corp.; Fitzgerald, Davis & Associates; Hamilton Investments; Chapman Co.; Grigsby Brandford & Co.; Reinoso & Co.; Carmona, Motley & Co. Inc.; and Innova Securities Inc.

Bond counsel is Schiff Hardin & Waite and co-bond counsel is Carney & Brothers. Underwriter's counsel is Coffield Ungaretti & Harris and co-underwriter's counsel is Rodriguez & Villalobos. The financial adviser is Thomas & Davis Inc.

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